The People You Want to Share Your Brain With

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“Why are you so interested in MFAs and whether they’re a good idea or not?” asked Rumpus friend Sheila Heti, in a recent interview with the New Yorker. Heti, who did not attend grad school, believes that it is possible for writers to fully immerse themselves in their craft without the help of a program. As Heti pointed out, those who are not enrolled in graduate school are also free to focus on the books they are reading and writing, and to make these works central to their lives. Heti encourages writers to seek out conversations and interactions that fuel the creative process.

When asked about the relationships that inspire her writing, Heti said:

Like, who are the people who I art-love? That means admire and want to share my brain with and make part of my brain. It’s not like there are a thousand people I can have this ongoing sort of relationship with, as with networking. There are a dozen? Maybe dozens? It’s like having boyfriends, except instead of things lasting six months or a year and then you break up, it lasts indefinitely and it’s not exclusive and it’s less concentrated… Instead of having sex, we have art.


Serena Candelaria is a Rumpus intern, and a self-proclaimed fiction addict. This summer, she worked at 29th Street Publishing and began writing a novella. She is currently a senior at Yale, where she studies Literature. More from this author →